|The patio in a tropical storm, 2007|
We're watching the approach of tropical storm Ernesto, forecast right now to touch the continent a good distance southeast of Mérida, probably as far south as Belize, early on Wednesday.
No one is concerned at this point that Ernesto will amount to a significant emergency in Mérida. Most likely we will just have some rainy days and a bit of wind. However, Ernesto is noteworthy because it's our first real tropical storm warning of the year. At some point in the earlier stages of every hurricane season an event occurs that makes us realize that it's time to check our storm readiness. Ernesto is that take-notice event of 2012.
We did have a brief windstorm in April that brought hurricane-force gusts to Mérida, but that was an oddity, over in less than an hour, and unconnected with hurricane season, so didn't cause too much excitement about storm preparedness.
|An April windstorm was too early to cause much excitement|
Today I am pruning and cleaning the yard, roof and terraces of debris and objects that might blow, be damaged by wind or impede drainage. I'm also making a mental inventory of things like planters and outdoor furniture that will need to be secured in case of high winds.
Tomorrow I'll shop to bulk up the larder. I will buy mostly food that doesn't depend upon refrigeration and that can be readied and consumed, if necessary, without the use of electricity or the stove. I don't eat a lot of prepared foods, but canned tuna, hard cheese, fat-free tostadas, along with fruit and vegetables that keep well are at the top of my list. I also will make sure I have at least a week's worth of purified water on hand.
I've checked my supply of candles, matches and batteries and made a short list for the hardware store which includes spare batteries, tape, some rope and wire. I also today pulled out the sheets of plywood I salvaged some time back to protect the front door and windows. I think tomorrow I will have time to measure, cut these to size and check the fit, and then number them so they can be installed quickly some day when we have a real hurricane.
On my list for the eve of the storm, in this case Tuesday (if anything develops) is to charge the cell phone and radio, to make sure I can stay in touch if the house loses power. This is the day to check the gas level in the car and top it off, if necessary. Were a real storm getting close, this would be the day I would hang the plywood, tape glass, gather up the rags, squeegee, mop and buckets, and secure things around the property.
And after this dress rehearsal, I will be mostly ready for whatever may occur during the rest of the hurricane season, which extends until the end of November.